Relief Descent of the Ganges of Mamallapuram

Relief Descent of the Ganges of Mamallapuram
Relief Descent of the Ganges of Mamallapuram

Two gigantic natural granite rocks are the perfect support for a large relief located in the Indian city of Mamallapuram. In total, they cover an area of ​​more than 29 meters wide by 13 meters high, which represents a chapter of legend such as the Descent of the Ganges. In other words, the mythical episode that narrates how that sacred river descended from the heavens to the surface of the earth.


Descent of the Ganges in Mamallapuram

The work is estimated to have been made in the 7th century during the reign of Narasimhavarman I belonging to the Pallava dynasty, which dominated this area of ​​the Bengal Bay for centuries, and under whose patronage a number of buildings were built that are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including this relief.

The truth is that the quality of the work is indisputable, both for its dimensions and for the ability of its creators to take advantage of the natural shape of the rock in its representation, especially the large central cleft that practically divides the surface into two parts.

In fact, in the upper area, a water reservoir was built, to make the water release and go down in the form of a waterfall through that crack. In any case, such an elaborate representation could only be seen in certain celebrations, since an authentic performance was made for the occasion.So today we have to settle for contemplating the almost 150 different figures that are carved, among which we can identify divinities of Hinduism, animals, people, and half beings path between men and beasts.

After all, the descent of the Ganges to Earth is counted as a true cosmic event headed by the great god Shiva, and attended by many secondary divinities as in its most varied presentations. Over there are the Nagas, Kinnaras or Gandharva.

Although, perhaps the most emblematic of the set are the large elephants, which are carved on a natural scale and where we see animals of different ages, including young, something not too common. They are like a herd or family of elephants that go to the river to drink water. Actually, looking at the reliefs of animals is one of the most attractive of the whole, since monkeys that imitate the postures of the sages doing yoga attract attention, or a wonderful deer is also distinguished scratching its snout, as well as lions that we can identify for her charismatic mane.

There is also an interesting landscape representation, as the Himalaya mountain range can be identified, which is related to the scene of the descent of the Ganges River. In other words, it is a most interesting and unique relief within the varied historical heritage that treasures the gigantic India.

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